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HBS MBA Essay Tips

Harvard Business School2017-18 Harvard MBA Essay: As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

There is no word limit for this question. We think you know what guidance we're going to give here. Don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don't know your world can understand.


The HBS MBA Admissions team has gone back to an open-ended essay question, altering from last year’s specific context of a classroom environment where you have to introduce yourself to the case study group of 90 classmates. The essay is still an introduction about yourself. The goal of the essay is to find your authentic voice that summarizes the true ‘you,’ your values, what matters to you – beyond the causes and extra-curricular. The Admission team wants to know in your own words – “What drives you.”

Now let us think from the Admission team’s point of view. Two differentiating elements in the Harvard MBA curriculum are the Case Study Method and FIELD Global Immersion projects.

Case Study Method


In HBS Case study method, professors give out scenarios and roles for students to play. You might have to make a decision as a CEO, a Manager, or think like an Employee. Your decision will determine the future of your company or the competitive dynamics in your market.

50% Final Grade – Class Participation


50% of the final grade depends on your class participation. An ideal participation in a 90-member class is one where you comment every two classes. Before you join the program, professors will study your name, achievements, socio-economic background, and even evaluate your potential.

To avoid the biases of the professors from influencing the evaluation of each student, the school even manages to employ a stenographer, who notes down everything you say. In such an environment, your assertiveness and preparedness are valued.

Active Learning


By putting students on the seat of a CEO, Manager, or an Employee, HBS MBA Students get to mirror what goes through the minds of each role. Instead of learning by going through management theories, the case study method pushes students to think like how they do in real life – devoid of any unnecessary jargons, and focusing intently on the scope of the problem. The Socratic method of teaching gives the students the habit of questioning their assumptions and that of their peers and even professors. More importantly, students will realize the joy of learning.

How can you demonstrate Active Learning?

Once you mention the event that changed your life, you should narrate the initial setbacks while embarking on the new journey. Without failures, there is no learning. What you gained from the failure should be a life lesson that you took to heart.

Event: Gulf War
Template: Refugee Crisis
Heroes: Mother, Loan Officer
Active Learning: Cash Flow, Estimate profit and loss, and develop strategy
Future Contribution: To be a mentor to the disadvantaged in my community and around the world.
Value: The opportunities to share my perspective with the class, expand my skills as a leader, and develop structured thinking for effective decision-making.

Download F1GMAT's Harvard MBA Essay Guide for Sample Essay #1 (Demonstrating Active Learning)

Getting into Harvard MBA is Not Like Catching a Shooting Star

Most applicants have this strange notion that you cannot get into Harvard MBA program without climbing Mount Everest, or leading a start-up to an IPO. 

Trust us, we evaluated a few Harvard MBA Admits. They are like you, but with one difference.

They are Masters at Personal Branding.

We will teach you:

1) How you should start the essay knowing that extroversion and passion are valued in Harvard MBA?

2) How you should demonstrate Active Learning?

3) How you should demonstrate confidence in decision-making?

4) How you should demonstrate your succinct communication skills?

5) How you should demonstrate your potential as an effective FIELD team member?

Also Included in the Essay Guide:

1) Six positioning tips that you should consider for your essay.

2) Two Sample Essays

Download F1GMAT's Harvard MBA Essay Guide 2016-17

Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)


We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).


Pages: 327

Reviews

"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

Download How to Choose the Best MBA in US: The Ultimate Guide
(2018 Entering Class)

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